Study Visa Opens The Door To NZ

Study visa opens the door to NZ

By Lincoln Tan
The New Zealand Herald, March 10, 2010

Migrants are using student visas as a more certain method of staying in New Zealand – and the number of cases is expected to rise sharply because of a new law.

Many temporary migrants who cannot renew their permits to stay have applied for the student permit to extend their time here.

Last year, the Philippines had the second highest rate of increase in percentage change in the number of students, behind only India.

The sharp rise is believed to be fuelled by out-of-work temporary migrants, rather than new student arrivals, applying for student permits.

Filipino Danny Ninal said the student permit had given him a 'second chance' to gain New Zealand residency after losing his work-to-residence permit with his advertising sales job at Fairfax Media in the recession last year.

'Becoming an international student has bought us time, and a second chance at becoming New Zealand residents,' said Mr Ninal, who is now studying computing.

From May 4, new legislation will require anyone who gives immigration advice to be licensed or face fines of up to $100,000 and up to seven years in jail – but those who provide immigration advice overseas for student visa and permit applications only are exempt.

Overseas advisers told the Herald they intended to get around the law by directing clients to use the student permit as their pathway to New Zealand.

The agents did not want to be identified because they think it could affect their licensing, should they decide to apply for one at a later date.

'New Zealand is not a top migration destination choice and we don't specifically provide advice solely on New Zealand, so it is not worth it to pay thousands of dollars every year for the licence at the moment,' said one South Korea-based adviser.

'We will be advising anyone who wants to migrate to New Zealand to apply for a student permit instead.'

International students can gain points for their qualifications after graduating from selected courses and apply for permanent residence as skilled migrants.

Last year, 5914 students in New Zealand were issued a graduate job search work permit – 16 per cent up on 2008.

Besides the issue of licensing, a China-based agent says the immigration business policies introduced last year are 'unworkable', and will push 'the student permit way' for his clients.


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